As I covered this morning at Search Engine Land - Will Google & Bing Penalize Microsoft Over Their Sponsored Post Campaign For Internet Explorer?
I suspect they will have to.
Microsoft seems to have contracted SocialChorus to run a campaign to generate buzz and awareness over their new Internet Explorer. As you know, IE has been getting a pretty bad rap these days.
SocialChorus has reached out to many bloggers, including Michael Arrington who posted the email exchange about this campaign.
Looking into the campaign details as posted over here, it is clear that this is a sponsored post campaign where bloggers are paid to write about their experiences using Internet Explorer. It encourages linking to the brand pages and yes, the bloggers are compensated for doing so.
No where does it mention using the nofollow attribute, thus making these links on the blog posts also paid and thus against both Bing's webmaster guidelines and Google's webmaster guidelines.
The big question is when will the penalties be dished out, if ever. The campaign is very new, so I am not sure how many paid links were set up yet. It is unclear where the bloggers would be linking to.
Clearly Matt Cutts of Google is aware of this:
Social Chorus is also aware they made a bobo.
@mattcutts Thank you for reaching out Matt. I just sent an email back and cc'd some more employees to better answer your questions.— Gregg Hanano (@gregghanano) June 18, 2014
Just wants to make you go, what!?
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson sent us the following statement:
This action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media. The program has been suspended.
Here is a PDF of the text on the unbounced page, which they have removed.